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View Poll Results: PLEASE READ MY POST BELOW. Then select the option that you feel is most appropriate:

Voters
42. You may not vote on this poll
  • I might be interested in making a yearly sponsorship donation, and think recognition and perks for sponsors is a GOOD idea.

    19 45.24%
  • I might be interested in making a yearly sponsorship donation, and think recognition and perks for sponsors is a BAD idea.

    20 47.62%
  • I probably am NOT interested in making a yearly sponsorship donation, and think recognition and perks for sponsors is a GOOD idea.

    0 0%
  • I probably am NOT interested in making a yearly sponsorship donation, and think recognition and perks for sponsors is a BAD idea.

    3 7.14%
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Thread: Site Sponsorship / Recognition -- *** PLEASE VOTE ***

  1. #1
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    Site Sponsorship / Recognition -- *** PLEASE VOTE ***

    Hi Everyone,

    An old thread about site sponsorship has been brought back up, and raised again some issues about the sponsorship of the site, donations and other matters.

    I once again want to emphasize that the site is not in any risk of going anywhere, and I am not soliciting for donations at this time.

    That said, many of the regulars here, due to being wonderful and generous people, have offered to voluntarily donate money. The question I want to discuss here is the matter of whether there should be any form of recognitions / perks for being a site sponsor.

    I was originally reluctant to do this, as I did not want to make those who chose not to donate feel bad. However, recognition is done routinely on many other sites. And I think that heck, if someone is willing to voluntarily pay for the site, what's wrong with them getting some recognition?

    I also am going to come up with a list of "perks" for those who choose to donate to the site. Note that as of right now this will not include suppression of ads on the forums. My deal with RAM Electronics is that they get run of the forums. It would be unethical for me to start excluding ads from certain pages. It is possible that this might change in the future. I will instead come up with some other benefits for sponsors.

    Based on feedback on the last poll, I am setting the sponsorship level for recognition and perks I am selecting as $25/year. That's about $2 a month of course.

    Now to the poll: I have made this a poll specifically because it allows me to get feedback anonymously. I won't know how you vote, but please vote HONESTLY. I want to know how people feel about the plan to provide recognition.

    Note that even if recognition is made of those who choose to donate, any individual who sponsors the site may individually opt to NOT be publicly recognized. The question is whether anyone has a problem seeing OTHERS be recognized.

    If you have any other feedback or suggestions regarding perks, the sponsorship level or anything else, please feel free to chime in.

    Thanks again to all.

    Charles
    Charles M. Kozierok
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  2. #2
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    Incidentally, while you obviously can vote anonymously, you should also feel free to provide feedback on why you voted if you wish. While I realize many people might not want me to know that they think recognition is a bad idea, it would be useful if some folks could help me understand why.

    I promise I won't hold any opinions against their respective owners.

    c
    Charles M. Kozierok
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    Note: Please reply to my forum postings here on the forums. Thanks.

  3. #3
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    I've seen other sites get into a downright cyber 'brawl' about dues and donations. Not saying that would happen here but it IS leaving that open to possibly happening.

    Seems as though those people that could, but choose not to donate get quite 'testy' to say the least.

    I vote for evenly distributed perks.

    Those that agree enter aye or nay here:

    <input type="invisible" value="">

    Just kidding!!
    Try it though...
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  4. #4
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    Ted: Can you describe what you mean about "brawling" over dues and donations? "Testy" in what way? I'd like to understand this better. Seriously.

    Thanks.

    P.S. If everyone has a "perk" it is no longer a "perk", by definition.

    c
    Charles M. Kozierok
    Webslave, The PC Guide
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    Author, The TCP/IP Guide
    A comprehensive, comprehensible guide to TCP/IP protocols and technologies...
    Note: Please reply to my forum postings here on the forums. Thanks.

  5. #5
    If I chose to donate or chose not to donate, I would prefer my choice to remain anonymous.

    I quite strongly disagree with perks for sponsors. I am all for perks for service and merit; rewards for work well done. I despise the idea of purchasing any form of status, or receiving special treatment or extra "favors" for money.

    I believe if one chooses to donate, the knowledge that they have supported something they deem worthy will be enough reward. If one wishes for it to be known that they donated, they can send a message to Charles when they remit payment or they can post a thread. A thank you is more than enough. Giving freely has its own personal and better perks - feeling good! You know, all warm and squooshy inside

  6. #6
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    I agree with Malcore, recognition for sponsors is probably not a good idea. Those who do pay will know that they have done their bit, and those who don't will not be able to use the "well, you pay so you get ******* , and it isn't fair!" argument. Look at the thread about avatars!

    And, again, it could lead to newcomers thinking that they had to pay to use the site. I know that is NOT the intention, but based on some bad experiences elsewhere, I think it could happen.

    David
    be wary of strong drink - it may make you shoot at tax collectors, and miss!

  7. #7
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    I agree with malcore.
    Sometimes your the pigeon, sometimes your the stache.

  8. #8
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    Understandably, money is a touch subject to most people. I definitely don't mean to upset or offend anyone.

    I do donate to free services that I use and profit from and strongly encourage others like me to do the same. It takes cash to run a class act like PC Guide. (and PBS, for that matter!)

  9. #9

    Thumbs up

    I also agree and I have also seen what FTT is talking about. A note being posted about contributions being needed and then when not enough people came forward another note saying how disappointed at the lack of response. this of course led more people to come forward or to offer some really bizarre reason why the donation could not get there. All in all not a pleasant site.
    Thankfully you have Ram, but they really don't have a sponser for the forum part of the site.
    Anyway I just made a contribution based on another thread and am happy to go along with how the majority of people feel this should be handled.
    I don't contribute allot to the site but I sure like being here.
    Mark
    What if the hokey pokey is what it's really all about?

  10. #10
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    The donations of the other site were to provide a better server to get to the same as here, vB. But lots of members wanted nothing to do with handing over any assistance to that goal.

    "The internet is free and should remain that way', "Look at all the other sites and THEY never ask for donations" and that sort of thing... (But it got much nastier)

    Charles,
    Not to dredge up old discontent and out of respect for the members here (and there) that I know are also members there, I will send a PM if you don't mind. It appears the one thread I would have really wanted to send you is gone! Cannot find it whatsoever. Plenty of asides though... You'll get the drift.

    The key is in the "asking" for donations (there) where it is NOT asked of here, though clearly stated as a voluntary thing 'there' as well. Still, it upset some people.

    Papertech, PBS!

    Malcore,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you, but the cat is out of the bag for me... I said it "there" and I say it HERE. I feel it's worth it. I feel the need to help shampooing the rug, fixing the vacuum,,, and learning.. 'cause when something with my system (that is over my head ) messes up, you (here) will be the first I cling to... I just hope I can return the favor eventually.

    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  11. #11
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    I agree with what the general theme seems to be here, allow yearly sponsorships, but no perks. I personally don't care about recognition and would not want it myself, but I also would not object to those that do. As long as you have good sponsorship like RAM, I don't see the need to add any pressure to have people contribute. The reality of the situation is that those who can least afford to contribute would also be the ones who often most need the help. I am also aware that even though I can afford to contribute, I probably would not have even registered here if there was a big push to get me to give money or if it was hard to find the forum under all the ads...
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  12. #12
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    I'm with Malcore and Budfred. Optional donations and ability to
    opt-out of perks.

  13. #13
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    I also agree with what appears will be the most popular vote.

    As you mentioned:
    I was originally reluctant to do this, as I did not want to make those who chose not to donate feel bad.
    I think that would be a real possibility- Some I think would feel that they stood out too much if it was visible to others, and would feel obligated to donate. Others would just plain be turned off.
    As Malcore said.."that warm and squooshy inside" feeling would be thanks enough.


    Which makes me very curious...Off hand, I can't think of what kind of "perks" you had in mind- (Short of making RAM Electronics invisible, which I know you don't want to do, nor would there be any reason to.)

    The other thing is, if the popular vote stands, isn't that what we already have with the voluntary Tip Jar?
    Unless of course a yearly donation was mandatory, which would I think turn people away.

    Guess I'm just rambling here. I just had another thought...(Don't you guys hate it when that happens? )
    Maybe the "Tip Jar" could become a little more visible. While anyone that reads can see it up there, it's pretty tiny.
    Perhaps a slightly larger pic of a "clickable jar", or even a larger tip jar "button" might make it a little more visible to people as they sign in.
    An example would be the actual Paypal donate button at the bottom of Black Vipers site.
    http://www.blkviper.com/WinXP/winxp.htm

    Not necessarily the Paypal button itself, but something that size which would bring people to the area the present link does.
    OK, this post is already too long...If I come up with any more silly ideas, I'll be sure to share them!
    Last edited by jabarnutcase; 04-15-2003 at 06:02 AM.
    ~ I had a life once...Now I have a computer and a modem ~

  14. #14
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    Wow...You're a mind reader!
    As I saw it slipping down in the forum, I was just about to suggest this thread be pinned so an important poll wouldn't get lost, and Viola! Here it was!

    (Woops...Sorry about two posts in a row)
    ~ I had a life once...Now I have a computer and a modem ~

  15. #15
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    I agree with all the above. Originally, I was enthusiastic on the whole idea of everyone just paying a yearly subscription of something like $25. Seemed most reasonable to me, and thought all the regulars would feel pretty much the same. No requirement for newbies, or people just asking questions...they could use the Tip Jar if so inclined, but no pressure on it (as now). But then, during the previous thread back in July, I realized that it's not always possible for someone overseas to donate easily. You run into money exchange problems and different kinds of credit cards, etc. I am too lazy this morning to go and copy your exact quote, ixl, but I believe you said "can't or won't donate" in a recent post. It's the "can't" that makes me want to keep donations/subscriptions anonymous. Can't because of financial, or can't because of location..either way, there shouldn't be a "penalty" like perks not available, or recognition not given.

    And it reminds me of the T shirt idea. I loved that idea, but cannot think of how we could even begin to do that..and how we would get T shirts to members in England, the Phillipines, etc and etc.

  16. #16
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    Ooops! If anyone is feeling pressured, it's probably because I've been trying to motivate those who have been thinking about donating to do so. In another thread, I put out a challenge. Sorry if it was offensive - totally not intended as I for one feel niceness it most important. Ixl tried to play down my challenge. It was NOT he who was doing the asking. I believe he started this thread since the old one (from July 2002) was getting renewed activity. (There are members who have joined since then.) Anyway, I have completed my fund raising efforts for the time being and I apologize if I stepped on any toes.

    Ever since the war controversy, feelings have been on edge. I think everyone agrees that this is the best forum of any type out there and all the members are wonderful.

  17. #17
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    papertech: I took no offense. It's just that I have an old fussy lady's belief that if one takes public credit for a good deed, one doesn't get credit with the Big Guy. And, trust me, I need all the credit with Him I can get..

    ixl: I admit that I am confused though. Are the site costs being covered by RAM, or are additional funds needed? If the latter is the case, how much is the shortfall/difference? Can it be easily covered by those members in a position, either financial or location, to do so? I don't want you to be out of pocket. I know that that was the case for awhile, and as much benefit as we regulars derive from this site, that doesn't seem right to me. I am most willing to help, but thought that it wasn't necessary any more, and now unsure again. So?

  18. #18
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    The purpose of the membership fee is to raise money. The more people that see others have contributed makes them more likely to contribute.

    If someone wants to opt out, they can opt out. I give money to charity and ask for my name to be withheld all of the time. It is a personal decision for each of us to make.

    This site does not happen for free and it is up to us to support it.

  19. #19
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    Kay,

    I was working on some thoughts in WordPad on my home computer...and here I am at my office sans notes! But, I deemed it apropos to jump in to follow up on the T-shirt thingy.

    My thoughts were along the same line and trying to disect the possible psychological "collateral damage" of a purchase with a known portion of the proceeds dedicated to the forums.

    I kinda like the idea myself! I also realize the logistics of such an offer could create a "preoccupation" of mammoth proportions!

    So, what about an annual or semi-annual T-shirt offering? Perhaps it could be handled in the "After Hours Forum" since it would more than likely be something the regulars would be the most interested in obtaining?

    There might even be a company out there willing to handle the logistics for a couple bucks to sustain an on-going offer...

    I'm also wondering about some sort of monitary compensation for our moderators? If I'm poking around in an arena that's not meant to be public domain...my upfront apologies with a hearty..."nevermind!"
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  20. #20
    I think T shirts would be a great idea but first we need to come up with a logo. Maybe just the pc guides, or if someone is artistic and original something different. The only problem I see with that is that you can't order 10 shirts and we sure don't want anyone to get "stuck" with the extras. The good thing is the site could sell them for the 25 fee and make a profit if we could sell enough. Just a thought. Something tangible for a contribution.
    Mark
    What if the hokey pokey is what it's really all about?

  21. #21
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    For the T-shirt idea: if ixl is not overly invested in the idea of making money on the idea, it would be possible to produce a template for the PCGuide T-shirt that would be posted on the board and downloaded. The person on the other end can print it on transfer paper for making T-shirts (readily available in most computer supply stores) and make their own shirt. The drawbacks would be that the shirts would not be consistent and it would be difficult to charge for. The advantages include no real economic risk and ready availabiity all over the world. As long as people have a color printer and the transfer paper available, it can be done anywhere.

    Caveat: I have never actually used this T-shirt tech, so if it doesn't work the way I said, please ignore this entire post...
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  22. #22
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    General reply...

    My thanks to everyone for their thoughts and votes on this subject. I am going to reply in general terms to some of the issues that have been raised.

    Before I begin, I will reiterate once again: the site is not in danger of being shut down, and the RAM ad is, for the time being, covering the costs of keeping the forums running. Whether this will be the case next month or next year is anyone's guess. I am grateful for the support of the fine folks at RAM, but I also know that times are tight in the business, and no web site can afford to make assumptions about its future. This is part of why I am addressing this issue now.

    I see that the votes are running about 2:1 against my idea. Normally, I would just accept this and go with what the majority of you are saying. In this particular case, however, I'm afraid that many of you are voting "no" for reasons that either aren't applicable, or for reasons I just don't understand. It seems to me that many of you want very much to support the site, and I am grateful. You also seem to be somewhat modest, in that many of you want to do this without any form of recognition, and that's a sign of your good nature. But I am also picking up some undercurrents of fear. So I am going to give my reasons for why I think I do want to proceed with such a program, and maybe I can convince some of you or at least alleviate your concerns.

    classicsoftware has summarized pretty well the bottom line. Many people want to contribute, but don't because they don't see that anyone else has. Sure, they see the reminder at the top of the page, but they tune it out. Human nature says that most people will use something for free and not make a voluntary donation. Only a special few will do so.

    Having recognition for those who pay a voluntary membership fee serves two purposes: to provide recognition for those who are helping support the site, and to show others that this option exists. Certainly anyone who wants to may choose not to have this recognition granted. But I think that earlier, in my concern over non-donors "feeling bad" I have really missed the point, and maybe some of you are also.

    It's not about making people who donate feel bad. It's about making those who do donate feel good, because they should: they are helping guarantee the future of the forums. And they deserve recognition for their good deed, if they want it. Furthermore, the recognition tells others people that this is an option, much better than the Tip Jar reminder does. Why? Because it's tangible, and people can see that others are doing it. People see the Tip Jar but have no idea if it is ever used.

    Is this selfish, to want to have people see this sponsorship option and consider it? Maybe it is. But frankly, I think it is wholly unoffensive, and I really have bent over backwards to keep the truly offensive stuff off the site. There are no pop ads here, there are no huge vertical banners or other stuff like that. Some forums have ads on top, on the bottom, on the sides, under links to each forum, you name it. I don't want to do that. I also have never asked for money, and I also don't want to be in a position where RAM decides to cancel and the forums need another hardware upgrade and then I have to start doing exactly that.

    As for those who don't donate "feeling bad".. Why? When you go into a hospital, or a library, or a museum, right there on the first floor is a large display showing the names of those who donated. It's recognition for their support. Do you feel "bad" that you have chosen not to donate? I certainly don't. I feel grateful to those who have donated. And it might make me consider donating myself in the future. But I don't feel "bad".

    Now a few other issues. Kay mentioned something about those who don't donate being "penalized". I think this is looking at the glass as being half-empty instead of half-full. There are sites where those who do not pay literally get a crippled version of the site, or have no access to part of it, or can't participate as much as paying members. I am not suggesting this. I'm talking about minor perks, such as having "Sponsor" next to one's name, or perhaps being able to have a custom avatar prior to 1,024 posts or something like that. I am not going to make it so anyone feels compelled to pay just to participate. But I don't think those who do choose to give of their own free will should have to feel worried about those who don't give think.

    Regarding the fact that these sorts of plans have led to fights on other sites: I expect better of our membership. We aren't like other sites. Fruss PM'ed me a link to another forum where they had these issues, which I appreciated. No offense to Fruss or those forums, but I took a look there and the argument was completely juvenile. I never see people carry on like that here (well, maybe with the exception of that Iraq war stuff, but let's ignore that. ). And that forum was asking people to pay, so of course there was resentment. It doesn't apply here. I am not asking anyone to do anything.

    Regarding payment: I get Disk Edition orders from around the globe. Those who live outside the U.S. usually have some way of getting payments here for a variety of reasons. Between Visa, Mastercard and Paypal most people should be covered. Those who can't pay, fine, it's voluntary and not a big deal.

    Regarding malcore's sentiments: they are noble, but I don't agree with them. Service and merit are important, but so is money. That's the bottom line reality of life in a capitalist society. We need our members, our contributors, because they make the site what it is. But the site is a commercial enterprise, and I see nothing wrong with also granting recognition to those who support it financially.

    The main thing I want people to consider is this: you all want to help the site. People talk about publicizing the Tip Jar better for example. But providing recognition to those who sponsor the site will help it more than not providing that recognition. And more than reminding people about the Tip Jar. I hope I have explained why, but if not, ask questions and I will try again. I realize there might be some problems with such a plan, but it will also yield a lot of benefits.

    Regarding the T-shirts: this idea has been brought up before, and my response now is the same as then. If the reason for this is to help the site, it really doesn't unless someone else is willing to volunteer to do the work. My time is at a premium, and I know nothing about designing and having made T-shirts. I also don't have a logo worthy of a T-shirt. (The one on the site is okay, but it's not high enough quality for a shirt.) And I don't really want to spend time mailing out T-shirts -- once I have to start collecting addresses and buying boxes and stuffing them and taking them to the Post Office, the net benefit of the T-shirts to me becomes negligible. I hope it doesn't sound arrogant, but it's the truth.

    I think a better approach there might be for the members of the forums who like the idea to maybe just make some T-shirts for fun. I'm willing to be involved in that project but I can't run it, I'm sorry.

    Okay, that's enough rambling for now.

    Thanks again... Charles
    Charles M. Kozierok
    Webslave, The PC Guide
    PC Reference, Troubleshooting, Optimization and Buyer's Guides...
    Author, The TCP/IP Guide
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    Note: Please reply to my forum postings here on the forums. Thanks.

  23. #23
    I also see nothing wrong with granting recognition.

    However, giving special privileges to those who can "buy" them just leaves a bad tatse in my mouth - a microcosm of the unfortunate side of the capitalist reality - those who "can afford" it get preferential treatment.
    (I realize what we are talking about here is not on the same scale of health care or legal assistance, but it nonetheless leaves a feeling of unease)

    If it's true that showing who has donated and who has not will increase support for the site, then by all means give it a go.

    I'm glad you find my sentiments noble but don't fall into the trap of confusing nobility with naivety. I very much appreciate the importance of money in this world. That was not my point.

    Anyway, last words- recognition is fine, perks or extra priveleges I don't much care for. I would almost prefer ads!
    Last edited by malcore; 04-15-2003 at 04:43 PM.

  24. #24
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    Personally I'm as indifferent to recognition of sponsorship as I am to avatars - as long as there is an option (as with avatars) of choosing not to see such "distractions".

    Since maintaining the site is not causing financial embarrassment, sponsorship can have only one of two effects; to increase a slush fund for the uncertain future or to enrich/reward ixl for his valiant efforts to date.

    I can however state that I will not formally sponsor the site if this is to be publicised unless it is made mandatory, at which point I would review the situation. The fact that others will see me as a skinflint or whatever is their problem - not mine.

    My own solution for raising cash in a non-divisive (or half-full) way would be to start a monthly lottery. Take a big cut for the site if you like. Those who have purchased "tickets" could be shown on a special page (and would be thereby de facto sponsors - but one (or more) lucky one(s) could come up trumps. All "could" be winners that way.
    Take nice care of yourselves - Paul - ♪ -
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  25. #25
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    Originally posted by malcore
    I also see nothing wrong with granting recognition.

    Okay, thanks.

    However, giving special privileges to those who can "buy" them just leaves a bad tatse in my mouth - a microcosm of the unfortunate side of the capitalist reality - those who "can afford" it get preferential treatment.
    ...
    I'm glad you find my sentiments noble but don't fall into the trap of confusing nobility with naivety. I very much appreciate the importance of money in this world. That was not my point.

    I wasn't trying to accuse you of being nave. I am simply saying that I don't view this matter the same way you do. You might not guess that I feel this way given that I most certainly have not tried to exploit this site to its full commercial potential, but I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with someone getting preferential treatment if they pay for it, depending on what the "it" is. As you point out, this is not health care or legal representation. The fact is that every day people get "preferential treatment" for this or that when they pay for it. Everything from transportation to food to entertainment. Everything you pay money for that someone else does not entitles you to some sort of "preferential treatment". In that context, what I am talking about here is relatively minor.

    Anyway, thanks for your continued thoughts, much appreciated.

    c
    Charles M. Kozierok
    Webslave, The PC Guide
    PC Reference, Troubleshooting, Optimization and Buyer's Guides...
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    Note: Please reply to my forum postings here on the forums. Thanks.

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